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Writers Great article from io9 for those of you developing Fantasy stories or novels regarding some things to consider for your magic system. I think you could use the same questions for technology (with a little modification) if you're writing science fiction.
Gregory Lynn's profile photoMike Reeves-McMillan's profile photoNobilis Reed's profile photoEric Bahle's profile photo
wow thanks! I can apply these questions to my game development.
For sure! It mainly stuck out to me because my game was supposed to be a 6 novel saga. I then decided to re-adapt it into a video game series :)
Although, even after consulting with these questions at designing the System of Magic, you can still produce a major fail. See: Christopher Paolini.
Why do you believe Christopher Paolini failed?
Despite everything in the books, learning the magic seemed far too easy — it didn't seem enough of a challenge. And it contained a variety of "Chuck Norris" elements, with multiple characters having too much perks. In my honest opinion, level over 9000 warrior who is level 9000+ magic user at the very same time is just a no-go. The only "handicap" Eragon had was getting friendzoned by Arya. I'm not counting damages dealt by Durza, this was patched. But that's only one thing. There's also the matter of "what magic can't do?" — In world of Alegesia, it can do pretty much anything, with very few exceptions.
+Nobilis Reed did you see this one? You already worked out all your stuff in meticulous detail, but maybe the questions will spark something you hadn't thought of yet.
How do you all think it should be? More difficult or restricted? Would this hold reader interest? 
In my opinion, magic should always have restraints. It stops being special and... well, magical, if it can do anything.
I'm going to take these and make a list for my own work relevant to the technology in my story. This is a great starting point to work off of.
Number 12 might be the most important.
Although it assumes that magic users have not taken over the world. So, a question for you, +Eric Bahle (while we're still talking about number 12): do you think that if magic users have taken control over the world, then the magic system is bad?
I definitely think #12 is the most important and the magic system is really the thing that differentiates fantasy from all the lesser genres.

But you know what, it doesn't take an overpowering magic system for magic users to take over the world.

I mean, if all you did was enable them to communicate over long distances it would provide an advantage to conventional armies that could prove decisive.
+Gregory Lynn You should write that story. Call it something like the Butterfly Effect for Magic.. or something. Don't use communication. Use something that is even more mundane and seemingly harmless and then explore the effects of this 'harmless ability' throughout the book in the same way Asimov explored the consequences of implementing his four laws of robotics with I, Robot.
I actually, kind of am, a little.

In what I am writing--once I get this little diversionary project done--the universe chooses a soul mate for you and you can experience things through their senses, which means you can communicate. You can also find each other. So it's long range communication--impacted by distance--but only with one person.

There is stronger magic but it's really rare and they kill all the kids that show up with it...OR DO THEY dun dun dun....
In magic, as in... other matters, it's not just how much you have, it's what you do with it.

Skill and clever application can beat raw power.
Speaking of which, +Mike Reeves-McMillan I noticed a similar bonding thing in Gryphon Clerks. I like how it grows as a relationship grows. I think that's cool.

I want to use it to totally screw with people though, so I can't do it that way.
Well, it screws with Berry pretty much when she's connected to a shaman who's angry all the time and sleeps around. But yes.
Yeah but if that had been allowed to grow naturally the way most do, that never would have happened.

Also, I'm about 85% of the way through and should probably have some comments back in a week or so.
Excellent! Thanks. I have a list in my head of things I think might not work or might need changing. I'll be interested to see if you identify any of them.
There's a few things there I hadn't thought to mention, such as limits in space and time.  
+Žiga Pirih I think Number 12 is the most important to answer because that will shape your story.  And it's really the most interesting question from a story stand point.  With a powerful enough magic it wouldn't take very many people to rule a world.  If they do it's not necessarily bad.  It might be the best world ever.  You don't even have to answer the question, but you do have to ask it.  The story might be about a group of magic users who could rule the world but choose not to.  If one of their members decides to go against that choice BOOM you got a story.
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